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Solaris Entertainment is developing a documentary about groundbreaking comedy writer Anne Beatts, her former business partner Eve Brandstein and Solaris managing partner Michael Bloom announced exclusively to TheWrap on Friday.
Beatts, who died in 2021, was the first woman to write for “Saturday Night Live” and helped pave the way for more women to enter the comedy field, Brandstein, who co-directed and produced the 2022 John Lennon documentary “The Lost Weekend: A Love Story,” said.
Brandstein and Beatts first worked together on the beloved 1982 series “Square Pegs” starring Sarah Jessica Parker. “[Anne] came from New York and the whole ‘SNL’ scene. I was a little in awe of her comedy credentials at that point,” Brandstein said. She teamed again with Beatts on “Just Say Julie,” starring “Earth Girls Are Easy” writer Julie Brown.
“There weren’t a lot of women doing it. She was incredibly, incredibly brilliant. Now there’s an enormous amount of opportunity for women in comedy. But she was a pioneer at the time,” Brandstein added. “I think her legacy is that she made it safe for women to think that this was a professional opportunity.”
In a statement to TheWrap, Bloom revealed the tentative title of the project: “The Girl Who Would Be King.”
“Anne was a pathfinder and certainly paved the way for those who followed her… Viewers will learn about Anne’s journey from National Lampoon to ‘SNL,’ and ‘Square Pegs,’ to teaching at USC, UCLA, and Chapman University,” Bloom said. “We’re going to hear from people she influenced, worked for and worked with.”
“She was quietly brilliant and knew comedy better than 99% of the people working in it. She could give you something funny anytime, anywhere,” said Bloom. He cited Tina Fey as a “long-time admirer” of Beatts.
Fey may have partly based the character of Liz Lemon’s writing idol, Rosemary Howard (memorably played by Carrie Fisher), on Beatts.
“I described her in our pitch as being a cactus fruit, which is one of those wonderful prickly pears that if you try to touch, it will bruise you because it’s got thorns,” Brandstein said. “But if you open it, it’s very juicy and sweet. That’s who Anne was.”